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How to remove a virus from an Android phone


Android phones are vulnerable to all kinds of malware, despite the security software and protection measures on Google Play. So if you notice that your Android phone is acting weirdly, like displaying random pop-ups or installing apps without your permission, there is a high chance that it’s been infected.

Luckily, you can remove malware from your phone in a couple of uncomplicated steps, as well as with an antivirus program. The latter will not only help get rid of viruses on your Android but it will also protect your device in the future.

In this article, I’ll explain how to remove a virus from an Android phone, as well as give tips on how to know if your phone is infected, and what to do to protect it from malware in the future.

Cybernews pro tip

The easiest way to remove malware from an Android phone is to use an antivirus app such as TotalAV. It will scan your device, remove any dangerous apps, and keep your Android device safe from any malware and virus infections in the future.

How to get rid of a virus on your Android

There are several things you can do to remove a virus from your Android phone. Chances are, you won’t need to follow them all, and the first two or three steps will do the magic. However, we also have some tips in case the worst happens.

To get rid of a virus on your phone, follow the steps below:

1. Scan your Android with an antivirus

The first step you should take when faced with a virus is to scan your phone with a reliable antivirus app:

  1. Download and install a reliable antivirus for Android. We recommend TotalAV, now 84% OFF.
  2. Do a full scan of your phone.
  3. Follow the recommendations from your antivirus app.

2. Tweak browser settings

Most often, malware enters your phone through the browser or malicious links. A type of malware called browser hijacker might change your browser settings to allow ads, redirect to fake search engines, and more. Here’s how to deal with that:

  1. Open your browser and go to Settings.
  2. Check the search engine. If it’s not your usual search engine, reset it.
android chrome search engine
  1. Go to Site settings and turn off permissions for “Pop-ups and redirects” and “Ads”.
android chrome block pop-ups and redirects
  1. Go to Privacy and Security and clear browsing data.
android chrome clear browsing data
  1. On Chrome, go to Safe browsing and turn on Standard or Enhanced protection (enhanced protection requires browsing data to be sent to Google).
android chrome safe browsing settings

3. Remove suspicious apps and reboot your phone

If resetting your browser didn’t help and you have a lot of apps on your phone, it might be time to do some reorganization and spring cleaning. Here are the steps for removing unwanted, random apps from your Android:

  1. Open the Settings app.
android settings app
  1. Find Apps.
android apps in settings
  1. Select Manage Apps.
manage apps on android
  1. Find and uninstall the apps you don’t recognize.
uninstall a suspicious app on android
  1. Clear the cache and residual files.
  2. Reboot your phone to be extra sure there are no dangerous apps left.

4. Reset your phone

If you completed all the steps above, and your phone is still behaving strangely, this is the last resort. A factory reset will remove everything from your Android phone that wasn’t originally there, which means that any hidden malware will also be gone. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Go to About phone.
android settings about phone
  1. Find Back up and restore if you want to keep your phone’s current configurations. Choose if you want to back up your phone on your computer or on your Android device, and follow the instructions on your phone. Be careful not to include any suspicious apps in the backup.
android backup and restore
  1. If you’ve lost all hope, go to Factory reset. Some Android phones allow you to choose if you want to erase the apps, accounts, or other items. If that is the case for you, decide what you want to erase.
  2. If your Android doesn’t allow you to select what to reset, choose “erase all data”.
android factory reset erase all data

How do I know if my Android has a virus?

Here are the signs that your Android phone has been infected with a virus:

  • Frequent and random pop-up ads. These can be pop-ups with inappropriate content, suggestions to download apps, or flashy warnings of infections that urge you to take action. They will appear on your browser, system apps, or other unrelated applications, and are a clear sign of adware on your Android.
  • Apps installed without your permission. If you find an app that you don’t recognize, it might’ve been installed by a virus.
  • The browser is slow, crashes, or uses a different search engine than usual. These symptoms usually indicate a browser hijacker or another program that goes on and changes your browser settings to display wrong search results, ads, or redirect to scam websites.
  • Quick battery drain. Some types of malware are designed to use your phone for mining cryptocurrency, clicking on ads, or doing other resource-intensive tasks. This causes your battery to die really quickly.
  • Your Android phone or apps crash frequently. All devices tend to crash once in a while. However, if it’s been happening way too often, and especially while using specific apps, it might be a sign of a virus.
  • High mobile data usage. Some malicious programs, such as spyware, use your mobile data to transfer information from your phone. If you notice that more data than usual is being used, it is likely that your Android has a virus.
Cybernews pro tip

Some Android phones, such as Xiaomi, display ads in system applications such as Music, File Manager, and others. This is normal, and not a sign of an infected phone. However, if ads appear in third-party apps or the browser, you should check your phone for viruses – the best way to do that is to use an antivirus for Android

How to check for viruses or malware on Android

If you’re not entirely sure if your Android phone has malware on it, here’s how to check:

  • Scan your phone with an antivirus, such as TotalAV. The antivirus will find all the dangerous apps and vulnerabilities on your phone and will remove them with your permission.
  • Check for the most common signs of a virus on your phone. Is your phone crashing more frequently? Are ads popping up everywhere? If you notice any other unusual phone activity, it might be good to take action – your phone could be infected.
  • Check for unfamiliar or suspicious apps. If you suspect your device has been infected, look through all of the apps on your phone. If you find an app that you don’t recognize, it’s likely that it’s been installed by a virus.
  • Check your browser settings. Some viruses, like browser hijackers or adware, get into your phone through the browser. Go to your browser settings and check what is the search engine. Make sure that pop-ups, redirects, and ad permissions are turned off.

Protect your Android phone against viruses

Getting rid of a virus must be relieving, but it’s not yet the end of this adventure. You should still take some steps to prevent malware infections in the future. Here’s how you can better protect your Android phone:

  • Install antivirus software on your Android phone. An antivirus with real-time protection, such as TotalAV, will keep your Android safe from malware and aware infections at all times.
  • Disable pop-ups and redirects on your browser. This will ensure that you never encounter annoying or dangerous links or websites, which can lead to viruses on your phone.
  • Don’t click on suspicious links. Phishing emails and texts from people asking if that’s really you in this video on Facebook often contain links that lead to malware infections. Always be extra careful with these links.
  • Only install apps from the Google Play store. Third-party apps from unofficial sources can contain malware, trackers, and other stuff that’s bad for your phone. By contrast, apps on the Google Play store get scanned for viruses and harmful permissions.
  • Keep your Android updated at all times. Every new system update often contains patches and fixes for bugs or vulnerabilities. Thus, by keeping your phone updated, you will always have the latest security measures installed.
  • Use a VPN to protect yourself online. A quality VPN such as NordVPN is a great tool if you want to keep your privacy and anonymity online. You can bypass ISP monitoring, avoid tracking and personalized ads, and use Threat Protection to block malicious or insecure websites.
  • Don’t root your Android phone. Rooting your phone is essentially breaking its security measures to implement unauthorized changes, apps, etc. It weakens your phone’s security and makes it even more vulnerable to viruses and attacks.

Bottom line

Android phones are surprisingly susceptible to viruses, especially adware and other PUA infections. However, if your Android got infected, you don’t need to worry too much, because there are ways to remove all malware from your phone.

The best way to remove malware from Android phones is to use a quality antivirus program, for example, TotalAV. Other steps you can take include resetting your browser settings, removing suspicious apps by hand, and if all else fails, resetting your Android to factory settings.

I hope this guide helped you to get rid of viruses on your Android. Share your experience in the comments below!


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